The following post is an email to our COO and co-founder, Kunal Sarda. Kunal often gets questions about our technology, our quality assurance system and our translator community. We decided to post this conversation not only because we found it informative but also because we found it inspiring.
Dear Kunal…I have been in the translation business for about 30 years now. Being a disabled person, I always faced limits, due to the physical disability mostly, in the provision of my services, and your project seems to overcome most of the obstacles that irked me.
Yet, my experience shows that the number of persons who believe that they can provide translation or interpreting services exceeds by a factor of 10 the number of people who are really able to do it. So, I’d like to ask a few questions about your project.
Andrei: How do you assess the ability of a person to provide interpretation services?
Kunal: We do this through a four-stage testing, on boarding, and quality assurance process. Our interpreter testing system has a high bar at entry (every interpreter must pass an interpretation test created and graded by professional interpreters), and continuous evaluations that result in the best interpreters receiving more opportunities and rewards. Those that are deemed less suitable are coached out of the system.
Andrei: Do you ask your translators to identify their field of competence (oil extraction, road construction, hotel business, for instance)?
Kunal: Yes, translators are asked to provide functional expertise and experience at the time of signup. They are then rewarded for specialized interpretations requiring these skills.
Andrei: Do you ask your customers to identify the situation and the specific field of competence they need?
Kunal: Yes. Our API allows our customers to effortlessly request help from only certain segments (based on language, gender, geographic or functional expertise) of our community.
Andrei: Do you have a procedure to get feedback from your customers about the quality of your services (and of your translators)?
Kunal: Customers have the ability to feedback on every interpretation with minimal effort. This feedback plays a crucial role in the four-stage assessment described above.
Andrei: It will be very interesting for me to discuss the issues involved in the functioning of your project. I always felt that translation is not just about language, it is about communication and adaptation to the situation of communication, and an online connection can both exacerbate, and alleviate the problem. I’ll be looking forward to your reply.
Kunal: We couldn’t agree more! Our mission is to ensure nothing every gets lost in translation and I’d be delighted to hear more about your story and your thoughts on how translation is more than just language.
We often talk about how we have more than 3,000 translators in the VerbalizeIt community. Each one of those translators is a human being (not a robot) with real stories and an ability to understand human interaction. Kunal helps run this community. You can meet Kunal and the rest of the VerbalizeIt team here.